The Mill complex is located on the Odra river channel separating the Piasek and Mlynska Islands. It stood in this place already in 1267, although the current shape of the complex after the reconstruction caused by fire was created according to the design of Fredrich Wilhelm Brunnert in 1791-1792. Current form of the Maria Mills does not differ substantially from the Brunnert’s project. As a result of the destruction of World War II, the original higher volume was replaced with a 3-storey front connector, on which the characteristic logo of the complex appeared at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s. This image of the Mills (low connector, logo) is an image that Wroclaw citizens identify with the historic character of this place. The aim of the project was to preserve this image and to honor the collective memory. We enriched this image with an intimate, green square.
The sequence of Piasek and Mlynska Island is complemented by Bielarska and Slodowa Islands. Thanks to the reconstruction of the gate passage and the pier on the western side, Piasek and Mynska Island gained another pedestrian connection. Additionally, the north-western zone of the plot was shaped in the form of an escarpment levelling the ground level, hiding an underground garage and serving as an open public space for the inhabitants of Wrocław. Trees were planted on the upper platform of the slope, and the stairs were enriched with benches and low vegetation – so that the view of the river and the canal, which is an important element of the assumption, would not be obscured.
The building complex was a difficult engineering and conservation/preservation challenge. Apart from the buildings, the canals with the existing infrastructure (related to the previous function of the object), which was heavily damaged by time and the flood of 1997, also required renovation. The entire complex was under strict conservator’s protection. The existing window openings in the mill facility were enlarged leaving the original opening visible and varying the degree of transparency of the added glazing. As a result, the lighting conditions of the apartments were improved, and the original disposition of the façade was preserved.
The extension of the building, together with the extension of the infill and the western connector, was constructed in a different material – perforated corrugated sheet consisting of fixed elements and mechanically controlled window louvers. The difference between the new and the existing is clear, and depending on the amount of light, weather or temperature, the building takes on a different form through the number of open or closed elements.